Update: Progress made on identified election worker shortages

Updated: 19 May 2022

The AEC have announced this afternoon that progress is being made on the areas of staff shortage identified yesterday.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said that in the past 24 hours more than 5000 additional people have signed up to work on polling day in the areas of concern.

“The new registrations mean some of the locations we identified yesterday are no longer of critical concern but others are still falling short and, given the current environment, there could be new areas of concern arise,” Mr Rogers said.

“However, the impact will be limited. We will have the absolute vast majority of the 7,000 polling places we operate across the nation on election day open and operating as per usual.”

“As it stands on Thursday afternoon we’ve already seen more than four million people cast a pre-poll vote with 2.68 million people apply for a postal vote before the deadline.”

“People are taking advantage of the options the Australian election system makes available – pre-poll, postal, remote mobile votes, couriered overseas votes, in-person overseas votes and even telephone voting are all being utilised by those eligible to do so.”

“For those areas of concern, people are putting their hand up to help deliver democracy in their community, which is great, but we need more.”

The current outreach

A special meeting of the National Coordination Mechanism was convened yesterday with information sent to a range of  networks immediately afterwards.

“Hundreds of thousands of pieces of individual communication were deployed in the past 24 hours,” Mr Rogers said.

“We’re expecting this to bear even more fruit in the coming 24 hours.”

This communication calling for staff to sign up went to the following relevant databases:

  • State and territory electoral commissions
  • Public servants across Australia
  • Emergency services personnel
  • Relevant education departments
  • Community groups
  • Local councils
  • Police services
  • Army reservists
  • Job seekers in the region

The AEC is also running paid advertising and direct outreach into communities.

COVID+ voters

People who tested positive to COVID after 6pm on Tuesday are eligible for a telephone vote. People must have registered their RAT or had a positive PCR result before registering to telephone vote. If you meet these criteria, get in soon as wait times may be long on polling day.

People who tested positive to COVID between Saturday and 6pm Tuesday were able to apply for a postal vote up until 6pm Wednesday (the postal vote application deadline).

Relevant health authorities have been sending COVID+ Australians text messages and emails directly to COVID+ people and sharing advice on their websites about their  voting options since Saturday.

“While time is running out for people to receive their postal vote, we’d urge people who’ve applied for a postal vote to be patient,” Mr Rogers said.

“Many people receive their postal vote in the final two days of the election period – especially people who apply late in the election.”

“We go to every effort to have them delivered in time.”

People who did not apply for a postal vote before the application cut off, haven’t voted yet, tested positive before 6pm Tuesday, and are in isolation through to after election day, may not be able to vote.

Areas of concern:

  • We anticipate being able to provide an updated, reduced, list of areas of concern on Friday